Chocolate Brown is the color that fuels any number of high-flying color schemes. It’s the go-to hue, whether it’s a fall wedding that needs a touch of naturalism, or a fresh concept by a “design progressive” bride armed with a Gocco press, a bucketful of Etsy bookmarks and shelves groaning with artisan papers.
Alas for the chocolate-tigued, that’s a migration not likely to happen — at least not soon. The world’s still crazy-in-love with chocolate, and all its savory cousins: coffee, mocha, tan. Its hoped-for heir apparent, steel gray, has made inroads … but has yet to take the wedding world by storm.
And that might not happen right away, because among the neutrals — unlike gunmetal gray! — chocolate brown is warm. Inviting. Feminine, even.
Pair it with just about any imaginable pastel or bright tropical hue, and you’ve got intimate, instant chic.
How to Get Down With Brown
The first colors brides paired with chocolate brown — pink and baby blue — are still enormous hits. (Sorry, wedding planners!)
But later on in the craze, we started to see new hues: butter yellow, lime or apple green. And that original pink got bumped up to sizzling fuchsia. We saw ultra-warm pairings like salmon, peach and burnt orange take their cue. So did aqua and teal.
As royal purple and eggplant colonized the pages of Vogue, they too started flaunting their charms against a field of chocolate brown. So did lavender.
Now, cutting-edge weddings interweave brown with fire-engine reds, copper and oranges, adding exotic touches like pin-tucked linens and fringe. Sometimes, you see brown with burgundy, a dark but elegant pairing … and sometimes with crisp, patterned black and white.
To most eyes, it’s the warm and ‘poppy’ colors that meld best with chocolate brown.
Still, there are blessed exceptions. Cool sage and brown launches the ultimate West Coast palette, especially with twigs or branches, bamboo, palm-leaf, handmade papers and other natural materials.
Also down with brown: monochromatics like champagne, khaki and cream. All this adds up to a Tuscan vibe that’s positively royal. Just add dabs of gold, olive or brick.
Everyone knows the traditional wedding: tulle, rose and shasta daisy affairs infused with lavender, pale yellow and other blushing hues.
Then, you’ve got naturalistic weddings — keyed to the blazing hues of a New England hillside in fall.
But plenty of times, chocolate brown weddings are a third type: those about pure design.
Here, you see all those sassy, style-infused hallmarks of modern events: patterns (paisleys, damasks, moroccan or henna-style, just to name a few!). And bright chunks of contrasting satin ribbon.
Then, you see cakes stacked in ‘gift box’ designs, or flaunting quilted, embossed or hand-painted fondant, ribbons, or graphic accents (polka dots, swiss dots, art nouveau swirls or preppy stripes, anyone?).
And modern centerpieces look sharp in this setting: think trays full of wheat grass studded with gerber stems. Or clear cylinders filled with ‘drowning’ florals and topped with a floating candle.
Papers are uber-important, too. As for invites? Spunky and graphic, if not outright letterpressed in some swanky coastal atelier.
In other words, chocolate brown weddings really are all about detail.
Dialing Up Table Details
Because brown functions as a neutral and can be dark in quantity, this wedding offers the perfect excuse to mix up table linens and centerpieces. Drape some tables with chocolate brown linens and others with cream or mocha, alternating overlays.
Then, for focal points, mix up your centerpieces in color and style. If your colors are pink and brown, work in some pale green and peach blooms to add depth to your palette. Use higher centerpieces on some tables, lower on others, and simple lanterns or hurricane lamps on still others.
Modern, youthful blooms look gorgeous in this context, such as gerber daisies, mini-callas or cymbidium orchids.
Want actual brown blossoms in your bouquets? Take a look at chocolate brown cosmos, hot chocolate mini-callas, or sultry leucadendrons, to name a few: all of which look fabulous with cream mini-callas or green orchids. Fiddleheads are another super-stylish accent.
For bridesmaids in brown, monochromatic cream bouquets in a tight posy style are simple but stunning.
As always, a candy buffet looks terrific in a color-popping wedding like this one.
For fun photo ops outdoors, hand your bridesmaids some super-bright parasols in your alternate color and ask them to pop ’em. They’ll look like free-wheeling flowers in pics.
And here’s one fun last idea for chocolate brides: liven up your bridal attire with a pair of bright heels to match the theme: fuchsia, teal, or lime green!
Tell us about your chocolate brown wedding. What’s got you stumped? What gorgeous designs have you found, or created?